There’s growing uncertainty in post-lockdown Britain and comms and PR people are feeling vulnerable.
The shadow of the first wave of COVID-19 deaths recedes replaced by the fear of job losses.
If you’re feeling exposed and fear redundancy I know how that feels.
Back in the early 1990s two weeks into my working life that was me and it taught me three important things.
Back then, I was working on a newspaper as a dark room technician trying to pay off University debt while working out what I wanted to do with my life. Two weeks in, we were all called into a meeting to be told that the paper was being put up for sale and there may not be enough money to pay the wages.
That was compulsory redundancy.
Six years ago when I left to become freelance it was voluntary but the lessons I learned still applied.
The redundancy process is always painful but when properly applied is equitable. When badly applied it causes resentment and blows the organisation’s credibility.
Here’s what I learned.
There will be rumours. Stop listening to them.
“I’ve heard that X met Y and they say that Z is going to happen.”
From experience, you’ll hear all sorts. Almost all of it will be supposition, rumour and speculation. All of it becomes tiring.
I eventually made the conscious decision to stop listening for the good of my mental health.
Wait for official communication
“This is the picture and it’ll happen by X.”
I found it far easier to ignore the rumour and wait for official communication and a chance to ask questions.
While you’re waiting…
Join a union
“They may tell you X but that’s wrong. Y is what they need to do and Z is the law to cite.”
It is so useful to have someone in your corner and who can spell out to you what the process is in law.
I’ve been a member of the National Union of Journalists for the past 25 years. They represent PR and communications. You can get more information here.
My Mum used to say that one door closes and another opens up. If you’re in the middle of the storm you won’t see this. I get that. This only comes with hindsight. It’s not a nice feeling to have your job under threat and I don’t dismiss that lightly but I hope one day you see a silver lining to it all.